Quotulatiousness

February 11, 2013

A boxplot of First Nations misery

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Government — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 09:17

Over the weekend, Colby Cosh posted this depressing box-and-whisker plot (aka “boxplot”) from statistical data on First Nations communities:

First Nations boxplot

Why did I want to look at this information this way? Because Canada actually performed an inadvertent natural experiment with residential schools: in New Brunswick (and in Prince Edward Island) they did not exist. If the schools had major negative effects on social welfare flowing forward into the future we now inhabit, New Brunswick’s Indians would be expected to do better than those in other provinces. And that does turn out to be the case. You can see that the top three-quarters of New Brunswick Indian communities would all be above the median even in neighbouring Nova Scotia, whose FN communities might otherwise be expected to be quite comparable. (Remember that each community, however large, is just one point in these data. Toronto’s one point, with an index value of 84. So is Kasabonika Lake, estimated 2006 population 680, index value 47.)

On the other hand, and this is exactly the kind of thing boxplots are meant to help one notice, the big between-provinces difference between First Nations communities isn’t the difference between New Brunswick and everybody else. It’s the difference between the Prairie Provinces and everybody else including New Brunswick — to such a degree, in fact, that Canada probably should not be conceptually broken down into “settler” and “aboriginal” tiers, but into three tiers, with prairie Indians enjoying a distinct species of misery. (This shows up in other, less obvious ways in the boxplot diagram. You notice how many lower-side outliers there are in Saskatchewan? That dangling trail of dots turns out to consist of Indian and Métis towns in the province’s north — communities that are significantly or even mostly aboriginal, but that aren’t coded as “FN” in the dataset.)

I fear that the First Nations data for Alberta are of particular note here: on the right half of the diagram we can see that Alberta’s resource wealth (in 2006, remember) helped nudge the province ahead of Saskatchewan and Manitoba in overall social-development measures, but it doesn’t seem to have paid off very well for Indians. This isn’t a surprising outcome, mind you, if you live in Alberta; we have rich Indian bands and plenty of highly visible band-owned businesses, but the universities are not yet full of high-achieving members of those bands, and the downtown shelters in Edmonton, sad to say, still are.

December 5, 2012

The shipbuilding tradition of the Maritimes

Filed under: Cancon, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 09:56

I got a media advisory from Tell Tale Productions this morning, letting me know that their most recent documentary will be shown on CBC television this Sunday on Land & Sea:

Maritime Shipbuilding is a half hour documentary that reveals this seafaring history and the proud tradition that lives on today. The film travels to once-thriving shipbuilding centers in Atlantic Canada to reveal was at one time the most vibrant, productive, and profitable shipbuilding region in the world.

From the first boats built by the earliest settlers, to the golden Age of Sail in the 1800s, and from the Grand Bank fishing Schooners to the high tech Naval frigates of today — the 28,000 vessels built in Atlantic Canada during the past 250 years have shaped the region like no other industry.

January 27, 2012

Popehat‘s Censorious Asshat round-up

Filed under: Cancon, India, Law, Liberty, Media — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 09:14

If you’re not already following the adventures of Ken at Popehat, you’re really missing some entertainment. Here are a couple of items from this week’s round-up of the folks who want to shut you up when you say things they don’t like using the legal system as a large club:

First up, we have Dr. Randeep Dhillon! Dr. Dhillon is suing Jay Leno. Is he suing Jay Leno for being a trite, phone-it-in placeholder? NO! There’s no California cause of action for that! SAG would never allow it! No, Randeep Dhillon is suing Jay Leno for a lame joke about Mitt Romney suggesting that his vacation home was the Golden Temple of Amritsar, a holy site for Sikhs! [. . .]

Congrats, Dr. Dhillon! You win a date with California’s robust anti-SLAPP statute! You’re going to pay Jay Leno’s attorney fees in this case, which I will estimate to be $50,000! And because some people will generalize about Sikhs based on the act of one asshole — you — you’ve just done more to expose Sikhs to hatred, contempt, ridicule, and obloquy than that threadbare hack Leno ever could! Way to go!

And from closer to home (and, I note, the very first time I’ve needed to use the New Brunswick tag):

Next, ladies and gentlemen, we travel North, to Canada, and the Fredericton, New Brunswick Police Department! The Fredericton Police just staged a eight-officer raid of the apartment of Charles LeBlanc! Is Charles LeBlanc breaking bad with a meth lab? Does he have children in cages? Is he a gun-runner? No! He’s a blogger, and he’s being raided for criminal libel for criticizing the Fredericton Police! That’s right! The Fredericton Police Department not only thinks it is appropriate to serve search warrants on bloggers who say mean things to them, they think that they should execute the search warrants themselves, even though they are the alleged victims of the criminal libel! That’s the New Professionalism in action, ladies and gents! Stand and be amazed!

Update, 4 May, 2012: The charges against Charles LeBlanc have been dropped after the New Brunswick Attorney General determined that Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador have all found Section 301 to be unconstitutional and that no New Brunswick court would be likely to disagree with those decisions. More information at the CBC website.

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